Justine, an 8th grade student at St. Mary Magdalen School in Altamonte Springs, received the 2017 Marian Essay Contest Scholarship for her essay on the Blessed Mother. In 2011, a retired diocesan priest, who wishes to remain anonymous, partnered with The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, Inc. and established an endowment fund to support Catholic education in the diocese and assure the future of the Church he loves. He felt that the students are the Church of tomorrow and a Catholic education would give them a good foundation that would stay with them for the rest of their lives.
In her essay, Justine draws upon the same hope, calling to mind that she is the same age as Our Blessed Mother was when she gave her fiat, despite the obstacles that might lie ahead. Justine’s essay leads her to the conclusion of how she will face her challenges: “I simply ask myself, what would Mary do if she lived in our increasingly secular world. By channeling the qualities she possesses that make her favored by God, I can learn how to be not only a better Catholic, but a better daughter, sister, and friend.
“Every post I make on social media will reflect Mary’s modesty, while my peer interactions will epitomize her patience and sweetness. By following what Mary would do, I can be the person God intends me to be, no matter how trying the journey may be.”